IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Designer says he has ongoing suicidal thoughts years after exchanges with Chrissy Teigen

Fashion designer Michael Costello says he continues to have thoughts of suicide stemming from a 2014 online interaction with Chrissy Teigen.
/ Source: TODAY

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to for additional resources.

Fashion designer Michael Costello says he's still "traumatized, depressed and has thoughts of suicide," seven years after online interactions with Chrissy Teigen that he said had a negative effect on his career.

Costello, 38, wrote in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday that Teigen and stylist Monica Rose threatened to not work with any people or brands that worked with Costello, resulting in him losing work for years.

Teigen, 35, has not addressed Costello's claims specifically, but published a lengthy apology on Medium Monday for her past tweets, writing, "I was a troll, full stop. And I am so sorry."

Costello posted apparent screenshots of Instagram direct messages with Teigen in which he pleaded with her to call him to discuss the situation. Instead, she mocked him.

The issue stemmed from what he said was a Photoshopped comment floating around online alleging that he used a racial slur. He said the image was false and eventually taken down by Instagram.

After Costello asked to call her, Teigen replied, "No! I do not have anything to say to you. You will get what's coming to you," according to the screenshots.

· Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long. · Sign up for the TODAY Newsletter!

In a subsequent message, Teigen allegedly told him, "Racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch."

NBC News reached out to a representative for Teigen and has not received a response. NBC News also has not verified the direct message exchanges between Costello and Teigen. A spokesperson for Rose said she did not have a comment.

Costello wrote that he has been living with "deep, unhealed trauma" for the past seven years after the interaction with Teigen, who has nearly 50 million followers combined between Twitter and Instagram.

"So many nights I stayed awake, wanting to kill myself," he wrote. "I didn't see the point of living. There was no way I can ever escape from being the target of the powerful elites in Hollywood, who actually do have powers to close doors with a single text."

He added that just last week he wrote personal letters to friends and family while contemplating taking his life because he "could not escape the false narrative that Chrissy Teigen, Monica Rose, and their friends believed in."

"As a result of what Chrissy Teigen did to me in 2014, I am not okay," he wrote. "I may never be okay, but today I am choosing to speak my truth."

After Costello shared his story, singer Leona Lewis accused Costello of bullying her in a long Instagram story. She wrote that in 2014, she flew to New York to walk in one of the designer's dresses for a charity fashion show.

"When I got to my fitting I was made to feel very awkward and uncomfortable as the dress was a sample size and he/his team clearly did not want to alter it to fit me," she wrote, adding that she had been assured beforehand they would modify the clothing to fit.

Lewis said the next day, Costello didn't show up and pulled out of the show.

"He no longer wanted to dress me and he abandoned his commitments to me and the show which made me well aware that I wasn't the body type required. I was so embarrassed and deeply hurt," she wrote.

"I'm not discounting Michaels experience as that is an awful thing to go through and I wish him so much love and healing. I'm sure this will come as a shock as I never told him how this made me feel. But the pot calling the kettle black in this situation doesn't sit right with me. Bullying comes in many different forms."

Costello denied Lewis' version of events in a statement to TODAY. He said the dress was for a charity event one day before his show in New York Fashion Week and he had planned to use one of those outfits for Leona.

"There was no way for me to make her an alternative option as I was, and still am, based in Los Angeles," he said. "If we had known about the event more than 7 days in advance, which is the timeframe we had, we could have made something custom for Leona without a doubt."

"It's bizarre how her attitude towards me shifted as soon as I spoke my truth in regards to Chrissy Teigen and others trying to blacklist me. If she felt this way I wish she could have said something to me about this matter. It was nothing personal towards Leona."

Costello's accusations about Teigen's online behavior follow revelations last month by model and TV personality Courtney Stodden, who identifies as nonbinary, that Teigen used to send them cruel tweets when they were a teenager. Teigen told Stodden in a since-deleted tweet that Teigen wanted them to take a "dirt nap."

Teigen apologized on Twitter last month, writing that she has tried to contact Stodden privately, adding, "I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am."

Stodden wrote on Instagram that they accepted the public apology from Teigen, but that they have "never heard from her or her camp in private."

The latest controversy comes after Teigen herself took a three-week break from Twitter, deleting her account because of constant online trolling, before returning to the platform in April.

Teigen wrote in her Medium post on Monday that she will be stepping back from social media to spend time with her family.

"We are all more than our worst moments," she wrote. "I won’t ask for your forgiveness, only your patience and tolerance. I ask that you allow me, as I promise to allow you, to own past mistakes and be given the opportunity to seek self improvement and change."